With Premiere Pro CS5, which is really the centerpiece of this story, we have to delve a little deeper. Here we finally have the ability to assess Adobe’s Mercury Playback Engine and see it handling 64-bit code, many threads, and CUDA acceleration all at once.
First, let’s compare render times between the two application versions. You’ll recall that with Hyper-Threading, CS4 scored times of 10:17, 5:21, and 3:33 with four, eight, and twelve threads, respectively. In a strange fit of coincidence, these are almost the exact times we saw under CS5 with HT disabled.
Re-enabling HT under CS5 again gives us that 10% to 20% boost. Thus, we can infer that the move from the earlier to the present Premiere Pro will only net you about a 15% improvement, give or take depending on your core count.
Now, when we turn on the Mercury Playback Engine, it’s like hitting a rocket’s launch button. Adobe’s 10x claim turns out to be spot on. With only two physical threads, Mercury and our GeForce GTX 480 are able to blast through our test in 1:36—less than half the time of our best score with 12 threads under CS4. With all threads and Mercury in play, CS5 sizzles to completion in just 29 seconds.
We didn’t record CPU utilization for this set because the usage patterns would have been meaningless. Most of the time, utilization hovered in the 98% to 100% range, but every so often there would be a downward spike into the teens or single digits. Noting the range would not have given an accurate representation of average resource use.